Ava Max
Heaven and Hell


5.0
classic

Review

by aok USER (33 Reviews)
January 9th, 2021 | 31 replies


Release Date: 09/18/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: As much swagger as Taylor Swift, as sensual as Alanis Morisette all while making it look as easy as Madonna. The scary thing is this might not be the best she's able to do

Oh she's Sweet but a Psycho... blares on Z100 New York. This isn't your typical pop song though. Listen once and you'll crave more.

Ava Max may have been influenced by such artists as Sia and Lady Gaga, although she has a sound all her own. Moving and powerful yet beautifully compelling and sensual, one gets the feeling she was destined to be famous. Max (born Amanda Koci February 16 1994) was raised in Virginia but moved to Los Angeles at 14 to pursue a career in music. She signed to Atlantic Records in 2016, and although she has released several singles, this is her first album. And Heaven and Hell's a concept album. The first 7 tracks represent Heaven and the last 7 Hell, with 'Torn' in between.

While one gets the impression she has more fun recording the back half of the album, the first half sets quite a seductive and alluring pace. Standout 'Born to the Night' borrows a beat from the Peter Schilling hit 'Major Tom' yet within seconds, one hears Ava singing seductively about a life lived in the middle of the night. 'Naked', a beautifully sweet track, and 'Tattoo' give us our first impression of Ava the heartthrob, both playfully show her willing to feel a bit vulnerable in front of our eyes. A little bit later, 'Call Me Tonight' seduces. She seemingly reintroduces herself as an impossibly smooth woman who's been able to land any man she wants whenever she wants and flirt / smooth talk her way into any scene: slip, slippin on my Versace, New York party.

In between Heaven and Hell, 'Torn' shows kickass Ava on full display, a theme that's continued in the dramatic 'Take You to Hell': If you're gonna treat me right, I'll take you to heaven every night, but God forbid you leave me by myself I'll take you to Hell. And while 'Sweet But Psycho', the contagious tease of a track that's impossible to not enjoy, remains a standout, the flirtatious 'Belladonna' shows her at her most decadent and sultry. The back half of the album's so loaded with top tier tracks that it would be remiss not to mention the adventuresome and playful 'Who's Laughing Now', the contagious yet dancy 'So am I' and the resilient yet sensual 'Salt' individually.

If there's a complaint to be made about the album, it's 'Kings and Queens', the only time it doesn't feel like Ava's in charge of her sound. And because the best songs are mostly jammed in at the end, this is a much better album than many will realize at first. Yet at 26, Ava's made an album so unique and special, winding her way through ecstasy and agony while maintaining such beauty and poise, that she's managed to make an instant classic.

4.8/5



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user ratings (24)
3.1
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
aok
January 9th 2021


4554 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

So yeah, it's been a minute here. Anyways, everyone listen to this album.



Recommended listens:

Ava Max - Sweet but Psycho ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXBHCQYxwr0 )

Ava Max - Belladonna ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6r0hZEXE0Y )



Other hits:

Vice and Jason Derulo – Make Up feat Ava Max ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hW3MN8Jt4g4 )

Ava Max, Marina - So Am I x Primadonna ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ftI6Qa7HzA )

Ava Max - My Head and My Heart ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdmJnThcBoE )

Digging: Tones and I - The Kids Are Coming

BallsToTheWall
January 9th 2021


50245 Comments


This sounds badass! I’ll check it out. Good review.

Digging: House of Harm - Vicious Pastimes

parksungjoon
January 9th 2021


25690 Comments


wtf an aok review

Digging: Government - Shitshitshit [japanese death poem]

Lord(e)Po)))ts
January 9th 2021


64984 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I sampled the first 3 tracks and although starting off with a homage to Around The World (Lalalalalaalallalalalalal) is a bit of a cheap gimmick, none of it was terrible. HEAVEN was very decent even.



Will peep the whole thing later but could definitely see this being anywhere between a hard 2 and a soft 3

Digging: Goldie Boutilier - Very Best

Lord(e)Po)))ts
January 9th 2021


64984 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

"As much swagger as Taylor Swift"



LOL

unclereich
January 9th 2021


8925 Comments


rare and cursed review

Digging: Wild Man Fischer - An Evening with Wild Man Fischer

aok
January 9th 2021


4554 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Until you listen to "Sweet but Psycho", you haven't really listened to Ava Max. Although I dunno which link you had because while "My Head and My Heart" samples ATC, that's not actually featured on the album.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
January 9th 2021


64984 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Literally just went to the album on spotify

Lord(e)Po)))ts
January 9th 2021


64984 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heaven_%26_Hell_(Ava_Max_album)



It opens the album on the digital reissue

jsaf7
January 9th 2021


405 Comments


Sweet but Psycho is a pop banger

aok
January 9th 2021


4554 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Weird. Yeah, I like the ATC sampled bit. The 2nd half of the album's better than the first imo

Lord(e)Po)))ts
January 9th 2021


64984 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I didn't mind it, but I'm glad to hear its not the actual opener, just seemed like a bit of a cheap way to kick things off so I'm glad that's not the case



Will report back



Still trying to find an angle to look at Taylor Swift at in which she has "swagger" tho lol

aok
January 9th 2021


4554 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Have you seen the "Bad Blood" video featuring Kendrick Lamar? Or Blank Space? So much swagger from Taylor Swift in there.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
January 9th 2021


64984 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I honestly have not but from everything thay I have seen of her i can't help but assume that tswizz channeling "swagger" would seem a bit cringey/contrived

Lord(e)Po)))ts
January 9th 2021


64984 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I didn't even know she had a song with Kendrick lol that is absurd

botb
January 9th 2021


14234 Comments


“ Oh she's Sweet but a Psycho... blares on Z100 New York. This isn't your typical pop song though. Listen once and you'll crave more.”

I actually couldn’t help but think about how problematic the lyrics were the whole time lmao

beefshoes
January 9th 2021


7921 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is definitely pretty decent

BallsToTheWall
January 10th 2021


50245 Comments


Bro, Kings and Queens slaps. I’m missing out.

BallsToTheWall
January 10th 2021


50245 Comments


I don’t know how I’m almost a year late to hearing that song for the first time.

alamo
January 10th 2021


3548 Comments


my head and my heart and omg what's happening are bangers

Digging: Goldie Boutilier - Very Best



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